When you’re listing your home for sale, you will need to have a photographer take photos of your home in order to showcase it online and in the MLS. We highly recommend professional photographs in order to market your home in the best light possible, but even the professional photographers can struggle to make some homes shine. Of course, you should be preparing your home by staging and cleaning the house, but you should also be doing it with a the thought of photographs in the back of your mind. We went to one of our best photographers, Brantley Gillespie from Planomatic, and asked him if there was any advice he had for sellers before he gets there to take photos.
Preparing Your Home For Photographers
Pick up around the house. It sounds easy enough, but remember, you want to be looking with a critical eye. Even things that are put away in a corner or stacked neatly shows. The more “stuff” you can hide from the photographer’s lens, the better. Find a way to put away and store the kids’ toys, paperwork lying on desks, any evidence of pets (crates, food bowls, litter boxes, toys), and keep the laundry room clear of any laundry – clean or dirty. It’s only for a day, put it all away in some boxes and neatly store them in the garage, attic, or shed. You’ll be surprised at the difference it makes when surfaces are clear and there is nothing obstructing the view in the photo. If you shove things under the beds, remember that photographs cover a wide angle and may pick it up in the shot. Make sure you can’t see any of it, even from lower angles. Find somewhere to temporarily store your trash cans and recycling bins so that they’re not visible in the photos.
Pick up in the yard too. Get the grass cut, clear the leaves, and trim any bushes or trees. While these may be the obvious items most people go for, don’t forget to roll up the hoses (even storing them temporarily) and pick up any toys or evidence of pets (if your dog leaves balls and bones all over the yard, it will show). Move any lawn equipment and trash cans temporarily into the garage or the shed. The only things you want showing in the yard is either natural or some well placed (and cleaned) patio furniture. Much like the interior of your home, too much clutter will distract the buyers from what they should be seeing.
Bedrooms and bathrooms. We know a lot of beds don’t get made everyday and a lot of people don’t make a bed as perfectly as a resort hotel, but now would be the time to focus on that. Time to break out the decorative pillows and best sheets. And don’t forget to make those corners sharp and tuck in all loose ends! In the bathrooms, clean all glass surfaces (the limescale buildup on that shower door really shows in photos) and polish the faucets so that they sparkle. Put away all the shampoo bottles in the shower and leave the countertops free of clutter (put away the toothbrushes, deodorant, shaving supplies, perfumes, lotions, hair dryer…you get the picture). If you have a few decorative items, you can leave those, just make sure they’re not crowding up the counters.
Check your lights. Turn on every light in your house. Notice any missing or burnt out bulbs? Get them replaced. The photographer is going to turn on all the lights, so a burnt out bulb will often show poorly.
Clean your windows. No one enjoys cleaning windows, but the impact of this can be huge. Photographers will open up all the blinds and curtains to let natural light in and if the windows aren’t clean, it’s going to show. Photographers seek a natural balance of the exposures of both the interior of the room and the view outside the windows and dirty windows make this harder to do. Give them the clean windwos to work with and they will make your home look amazing.
image courtesy of Roberto Soares